Prison inquiry cost State G$13M – Harmon

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The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the deadly prison riot at the Camp Street Prison and the prison system in general has burnt up about G$13 million of taxpayers’ monies.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon made this disclosure during a post-Cabinet press briefing on Wednesday at the Ministry of the Presidency.

coiThe financial cost to the COI comes in light of criticisms that the body was a waste of time and resources, contending that the findings would be no different from previous recommendations made to bring about prison reform.

One of the critics of the COI, former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran had explained that many reports were previously compiled citing the same faults in the country’s prison system; however, the Government of the day never made any attempts to implement the said proposals. He believes that this will again be the case.

Corruption watchdog Transparency Institute of Guyana (TIGI) had also expressed that the prison CoI could be nothing more than window dressing.
The CoI report was handed over to the Government on May 9; however, it was yet to be officially released to the public.

The CoI was established by the Government following the historic unrest at the Camp Street prison which resulted in the deaths of 17 inmates. More than 25 witnesses, including prisoners, prison officers, members of the Guyana Fire Service and members of the Guyana Police Force, testified before the Commission.

Retired Justice James Patterson (Chairman); human rights activist Merle Mendonca and former Director of Prisons, Dale Erskine were the Commissioners.

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